|19 June 1953
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg Executed
|The two years following the March 1951 trial of the Rosenbergs for espionage saw a dramatic effort to reverse the couples’ convictions, or at the very least to spare them from the death penalty. Most of this was the work of Emmanuel Bloch, the Rosenbergs’ lawyer, who filed a series of appeals, all of which were denied. Ultimately Bloch filed a stay of execution that reached the Supreme Court; four of the justices favored it—one short of a majority. In the final hours the couple’s two sons, Robert and Michael, led a demonstration outside the White House, carrying signs that read, “Don’t Kill My Mommy and Daddy.” However, any hopes that President Eisenhower would stop the process at the last minute were dashed.
Just after 8:00 pm on June 19, 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were killed in the electric chair at Sing-Sing prison in New York.